Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Gerald E. Markle

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan M. Carlson

Third Advisor

Dr. Paula S. Brush

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Ulin


Reasearch and theory on organizational crime and deviance suggest organizational offending includes aspects of the environment, organizational characteristics (such as tasks, structure, and processes), and cognition, and is systematically produced by the combination of these three. This research is an examination of the organization of the Abu Ghraib detention and interrogation facility in Iraq, the location of prison abuses now made infamous following their public disclosure in 2004. An ethnographic content analysis of documents was performed to probe organizational culture, structure and processes, and their intersection with individual biographies and contextual forces. While public questions focused on why seemingly ordinary women and men engage in this type of behavior, individual-level explanations such as deficient moral character or personal psychological defect (the 'bad apple' explanation) fail to account for the prevalence of the use of torture at the facility. This research explains how organizational features contributed to the prevalence and systematic use of torture by those working at the prison of this study.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access